Re: Distinctions

1

The reason for his impression was probably that there was a deadline that a vendor didn't meet, and no one seemed to care?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 11:59 AM
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Well, it's a crazy enough conclusion that I assumed he didn't draw it after just one incident.

Those working class people, always jumping to conclusions!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:00 PM
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I can easily imagine that there were other such incidents.

A lot of the stuff I'm reading for work right now could be marshalled in support of such a conclusion.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:05 PM
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4

Ok, sure, but there aren't no deadlines: there are deadlines, firm deadlines, and drop-dead dates. In any case, it's a minor issue: I would have liked to know more about his impressions of this other world.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:10 PM
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Punch-in-the-face moment:

On the rare occasions when they are all together, the daughters get on easily with the sons, though there are occasional tensions. Maggie would love to have a summer internship with a human rights group, but she needs paid work and when she graduates, with more than $100,000 of debt, she will need a law firm job, not one with a nonprofit. So when Isaac one day teased her as being a sellout, she reminded him that it was a lot easier to live your ideals when you did not need to make money to pay for them.

Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:11 PM
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Wasn't that unbelievable? I hope she "reminded" him the way Jack "corrected" his family in The Shining.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:12 PM
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One of my big eye-openers when living in England was that class does matter, a lot, and that class and wealth are very much not the same thing. Indeed, sometimes the upper class people are rather poor.

In my opinion class matters little in the US business world except for the executive ranks of large corporations, where it is an old-boys club and class matters a great deal.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:13 PM
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8

Fontana, punching someone in the face just isn't done. Surely you meant "pie-in-the-face moment"?


Posted by: Mitch Mills | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:16 PM
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9

Actually, I think he meant "direct-and-unmistakeable-look moment."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:18 PM
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10

I thought he meant "sexually abuse then beat before pantsing at private club lunchroom moment"


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:20 PM
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11

Chops, always with the subtlety.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:23 PM
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12

class matters little in the US business world

This is such a broad category; is it really true for all businesses? I would guess not.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:23 PM
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13

Text--

What, that isn't how it's done? But mummy always said...


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:24 PM
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This is why chops and I cannot marry -- I don't understand the workings of the sex abusing upper class.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:28 PM
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12: Didn't the Chet discussion touch on that?

4: only one of those is a deadline. The first is more a guideline, really.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:29 PM
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The first is more a guideline, really.

No one likes it when a doctor's kid plays at being working-class, Ben.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:31 PM
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ogged,

This is such a broad category; is it really true for all businesses? I would guess not.

Yes, you are right, I should not speak so globally. In the small working-class businesses I've seen (Chicago area - trucking, machine shop, pizza restaurant, newspaper) class mattered not at all. In the tech big businesses class mattered little or none at least to the third level of managment - 500-1000 people. In the executive ranks class (especially lifestyle) and connections mattered very much.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:34 PM
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And I wonder how much of class "not mattering" is in fact just an effect of the people in a particular business being of the same class. There just aren't a lot of lawyers who grew up poor working at fancy firms, you know? Ditto, I'd guess, for folks in biotech. And there's aren't likely to be a lot of rich kids in the trucking business, etc.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:38 PM
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It's a matter of shared norms, not money, ogged.

Saying that there are deadlines, and then firm deadlines, and then drop-dead dates strikes me like saying there are unique things, then really unique things, and then things that are so unique there's only one of them in the whole world would.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:38 PM
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Are we having some kind of disagreement, Ben? I don't think we are. Unless you disagree when I say that he's wrong that there are no deadlines.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:45 PM
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21

Deadlines: I'm lying to you about when I need something because I know you're going to blow it.

Firm Deadlines: I'm lying to you because I'd like to get this done without a lot of last-minute work.

Drop-Dead Deadline: Really, I might have to kill you if you don't deliver. But I do have this spare day built into my shipoping schedule...

Deadlines are like grade inflation. Everyone knows they don't mean what they used to mean, so new terms have to be created. WTF is an 8.0 GPA?


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:46 PM
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I think there's a fairly big class within which 'class doesn't matter' -- if you're white, "Employed parents who weren't manual laborers" might be one shorthand for it (I have a sense that if you're black, you probably need a somewhat more prestigious backgound to make it into the 'class doesn't matter' class, but I'm not sure). People within that class often forget that other classes exist -- the really poor, or low-skill manual laborers -- but I think being raised in such an other class will make you see class issues that the rest of us won't. (I'm thinking of a guy I went to college with, who had a huge chip on his shoulder about being poor and looked down upon. He wasn't looked down on, I don't think, but I do think that most people he knew in college really didn't understand that he'd crossed a significant class line to get there, or that he was having trouble coping because of it. People tended to attribute his problems to an unfortunate personality.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:46 PM
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Are we having some kind of disagreement, Ben? I don't think we are.

Then who the hell else you having a disagreement with? Are we having a disagreement? Well, I'm the only one here.

I can accept the proposition that there are, in fact, some real deadlines. But when he says "it's like there are no deadlines", do you really think he means there are no deadlines? I don't. I can certainly sympathize with his actions in the anecdote recounted. If you call something a deadline, it should be—a deadline.

And my dad is a simple country boy, or so he's fond of claiming.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:50 PM
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People within that class often forget that other classes exist

Yes, which is one very important reason to live somewhere or somehow such that one's children never forget this (and also never forget that people in those other classes are people).

(Also interesting: the immigrant experience really screws with these categories, because people can come from one class and end up as something completely different here.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:51 PM
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LizardBreath,

I very much appreciate that post. Thanks!

It took me a long time to understand that my Mother has many of the same issues your college colleague had.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:52 PM
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If you call something a deadline, it should bea deadline.

Ideally, sure. But the point is that we speak (as Mr. Croteau does not) Chopper's language from 21.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:54 PM
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Well it still pisses me off. And watch who you're calling "we".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 12:58 PM
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Hey, 'tis the season, feel the power of your anger.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 1:00 PM
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Actually, something else that bothered me was this:

I didn't make a single friend there

Unless he's a big jerk--and it doesn't sound like he is--that's not his fault.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 1:03 PM
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I'm beginning to understand why so many people here loved "Metropolitan".


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 1:15 PM
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To be clear, both my parents worked in academia. I went to a private liberal arts college, where I majored in Creative Writing. I had no idea what people even studies when they took "business" classes (my school didn't offer them).

I didn't know that a deadline wasn't a deadline when I started work. But I learned the language along with everything else I needed as time went by.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 1:20 PM
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If I understand the language of "work" correctly, I'm pretty sure Chopper just told us he gives great head.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 1:22 PM
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There's a party in my moth and everyone's coming!


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 1:24 PM
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34

"mouth"


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 1:24 PM
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35

SCMT, elaborate? As someone who like metropolitan, that wasn't because the class issues related to my life. Actually the whole discussion of Chets convinced me that there is a significant gap between my experiences of class and many of the ogged commenters.

I'd consider myself strongly upper-middle class, but there's a clear difference between the social world of West Coast college town (where I live) and East Cost business/law community. [and, yes, that's a gross overgeneralization, but this is a thread about class.]


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 1:25 PM
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Nick:

The only part of Metropolitan I saw was that bit in which one the characters talks about how the strivers from less wealthy backgrounds are luckier than he because they have a motivating impulse and something to accomplish. IIRC, I watched it with a bunch of Daltonites at one their parents' homes, and I felt somewhat icky about watching that scene of a group much like the one I was with dissecting the "unfortunate" so badly, and hearing my group's laughter and knowing that part of it was about confirming to themselves that they were fortunate and yet good. (NB: I definitely grew up upper-middle class, but not in a league with those guys). I couldn't really tell you why I felt so uncomfortable, but I think it has to do, in part, with a sense of people from other classes as "other classes" in some immutable sense.

That's a mess; but, then, so was my discomfort.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 1:47 PM
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Interesting, thanks for the reply. I imagine I would not have enjoyed the movie in those circumstances. I enjoyed the movie for its dissection of adolescent pretension (not necessarily class based). See for example the speech in which the main character says that he prefers reading literary criticism to literature because, "that way you get the ideas of the author and of the critic at the same time." That satire struck close to the bone for me.

As a tangent I'm struck by your comment:

I definitely grew up upper-middle class, but not in a league with those guys

clearly the definition of "upper-middle class" is almost as elastic as the definition of "middle class"


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 2:04 PM
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I think that's a result of the fact that (a) we have no reasonable way to measure anything akin to marginal utility, and (b) our income map skews upward exponentially.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-19-05 10:49 PM
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One of my big eye-openers when living in England was that class does matter, a lot, and that class and wealth are very much not the same thing. Indeed, sometimes the upper class people are rather poor.

Amen to that.

But the intervals of class in England are so much more complicated than an outsider can imagine. Money plays a role, only insofar as it enables the preservation of status. And of course, nothing is more suspect to any class than upstarts making a bid for express membership rights.

Shaw had it right. No Englishman can open his mouth without making another Englishman despise him.


Posted by: Austro | Link to this comment | 05-20-05 2:36 AM
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Austro,

Who is "Shaw?"


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-20-05 9:43 AM
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He was the philosopher who, with Fabian Whitehead, wrote Principia Mathematica.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-20-05 9:49 AM
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Duke Fabian Whitehead.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-20-05 9:50 AM
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I thought that was Russell. Is this a GBS joke I don't get?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-20-05 9:52 AM
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He had a very promiscuous ontology.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 05-20-05 9:54 AM
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Ben that was evil:

Tripp, I meant old Grievous Bodily Shaw: The quote is from Pygmalion.


Posted by: Austro | Link to this comment | 05-20-05 9:56 AM
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Tim, Austro: way to ruin it. I was trying to troll Tripp.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-20-05 10:03 AM
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Wow.. i had no inkling that was intended to run. Sorry. So give me the dunces cap, again.


Posted by: Austro | Link to this comment | 05-20-05 10:05 AM
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